Super Sebring - Endurance Racing in Florida

ijm5012

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Last weekend I took some time off work and traveled down to "beautiful" Sebring, Florida (for anyone that's been to Sebring, you know why I put beautiful in quotation marks). The town is pretty much known for one thing and one thing only: a world famous sports car race that takes place in March every year. This was my first time attending the event and I was not disappointed, as fans were given a double-dose of endurance racing.

While the race weekend typically consists of a single, 12-hour endurance race on Saturday, this year there was an 8-hour race put on by another series on Friday evening. While the weather was hot (85ºF) and sunny for the majority of the weekend, Saturday started started out with some pretty heavy rains. Fortunately the rains eventually cleared and the sun came out, but while the rain was around it provided for some great photo opportunities.

While I did take my Z6 with me, most of the images were shot with my D500's and a 300/2.8, 70-200/2.8, and 16-80. The D500 continues to prove its worth as an incredible sports and action camera, and the Z6 wasn't too bad either. I had a great time at the race, and am definitely planning on going back next year! I've included a selection of my favorite images from the weekend below, but the full gallery of images can be viewed here.







































 

pwol

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Nice shots. I really like the long focal length shots. That's the kinda stuff I was going for with the PL200+tc at Daytona but couldnt really pull off. Sebring seems like a great track for those kind of shots, all sorts of neat turns and whatnot with tons of close unobstructed access.

I walked 23+ miles over the 2 days, we probably bumped into each other heh.

Idk about you but I was disappointed that the cops shut down the traditional turn 7 couch burning after the race lol
 
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ijm5012

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Excellent set, thanks for sharing here!
Thank you John

Cool shots! :)
Thanks Charlie!

Glad you're still posting here. Great shots, especially the slowest. Must be quite a challenge!
Thanks Eric. Yes, there's an exponential relationship between increasing shutter speeds and the number of throw-aways. But, when you nail it it makes it worth it!

The glowing brake discs are really neat to see.
Definitely. Depending on the cars, you see the exhaust glowing as well. Just one of the many things that makes night racing so unique.
 

ijm5012

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Nice shots. I really like the long focal length shots. That's the kinda stuff I was going for with the PL200+tc at Daytona but couldnt really pull off. Sebring seems like a great track for those kind of shots, all sorts of neat turns and whatnot with tons of close unobstructed access.

I walked 23+ miles over the 2 days, we probably bumped into each other heh.
Thanks. So you decided to drive back down, eh? What did you think of Sebring vs. Daytona? IMO, Daytona is a neat race, but for photography it can be a bit tough. I had never shot Sebring before, but felt it was better than Daytona. As much as I love Daytona, if I had to pick between it and Sebring, I'm 95% certain I'd do Sebring again next year (especially if the WEC comes back again).
 

pwol

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Thanks. So you decided to drive back down, eh? What did you think of Sebring vs. Daytona? IMO, Daytona is a neat race, but for photography it can be a bit tough. I had never shot Sebring before, but felt it was better than Daytona. As much as I love Daytona, if I had to pick between it and Sebring, I'm 95% certain I'd do Sebring again next year (especially if the WEC comes back again).
Yea for some reason I thought another 2,500+ mile road trip was a good idea. I wasnt sure about going to Sebring, then I heard the Ford GT program was shutting down so I had to go and get a double dose of Ford GTs. It's a long story but that car/program is the only reason why I found out about IMSA. So you can imagine how I felt watching the Fords dominate 1/2 literally all day then fck it up at the end, lol.

The race was just a small part of my trip. My gf's sister lives an hour and a half away from Sebring so we stayed there and did tons of vaca stuff between Sarasota and Clearwater. It was pretty neat kayaking just a couple feet away from manatees and dolphins. I just got home yesterday and miss the warm weather already.

It's hard to say, both were alot of fun. 50/50 split. If WEC comes back next year (I heard there's a good chance they will) then I'd go to Sebring, if they dont come back then I'd go to Daytona. Sebring has so much more spots to take photos from. Tons of close, unobstructed spots. Daytona has like 7ft fencing everywhere and you're further away from the track. Sebring has nicer weather and is just such an interesting experience lol. Then again there's just something special about a 24 hour long race. Idk, it's a tough call, but you cant go wrong with either race. I went all in on going to races this year and dont have any plans to go next year... yet.
 
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ijm5012

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Yea for some reason I thought another 2,500+ mile road trip was a good idea. I wasnt sure about going to Sebring, then I heard the Ford GT program was shutting down so I had to go and get a double dose of Ford GTs. It's a long story but that car/program is the only reason why I found out about IMSA. So you can imagine how I felt watching the Fords dominate 1/2 literally all day then fck it up at the end, lol.

The race was just a small part of my trip. My gf's sister lives an hour and a half away from Sebring so we stayed there and did tons of vaca stuff between Sarasota and Clearwater. It was pretty neat kayaking just a couple feet away from manatees and dolphins. I just got home yesterday and miss the warm weather already.

It's hard to say, both were alot of fun. 50/50 split. If WEC comes back next year (I heard there's a good chance they will) then I'd go to Sebring, if they dont come back then I'd go to Daytona. Sebring has so much more spots to take photos from. Tons of close, unobstructed spots. Daytona has like 7ft fencing everywhere and you're further away from the track. Sebring has nicer weather and is just such an interesting experience lol. Then again there's just something special about a 24 hour long race. Idk, it's a tough call, but you cant go wrong with either race. I went all in on going to races this year and dont have any plans to go next year... yet.
Sounds like a great little vacation! Yes, I too enjoyed the warm (HOT) weather and was disappointed to return home.

The GT cars are beautiful, but man do they sound like shit. I understand why Ford went with an EcoBoost V6 for the car, but it would sound so much better with a V8. As it stands, the best sounding GT car in the field are the GTLM Porsche 911 RSR's. They absolutely SCREAM, and I dread the day Porsche switches to using turbos, because that noise will be gone forever (as will the C7.R's deep, throaty V8 when the C8.R debut's next year).

As far as the races go, you're certainly right. There is something so unique about a 24 hour race, but Daytona can be limiting in terms of photo access for your general fans, and the weather is a complete crap shoot (absolutely terrible this year)! Sebring on the other hand offers fantastic viewing from all around the track, and much better weather. As much as I love Daytona, as a fan, I'd rather attend Sebring in person and watch Daytona from home.

Next race for me is Mid-Ohio in a few weeks time. Early May in central Ohio can be crap shoot in terms of the weather. We lucked out last year, but no guarantees on what it'll be like this year.
 

ijm5012

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Some cracking shots there Ian. Number 8 is definitely my favourite though.
Thanks Paul. It was a great weekend at the track, and although the rain sucked, it made for some cool pictures both with the rain itself, but also with the ominous clouds that loomed over the track after the rain dried up.
 

alex66

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Nice.

I HATE to think of what it is like to drive that fast on a WET road. Even just a film of water at that speed is DANGEROUS, can you say hydroplane.
It can make it more exciting, doing a rally in the snow and ice was definatly somewhat scarry but at the same time the adrenaline was pumping big time, rain is not so bad after. You do race with far more speciallised tyres though, on snow and ice they are studded to gain extra grip, for rain the pattern is designad to give vastly improved grip, then they also change the compound of the tyres for different conditions. There is always risk racing, even in perfectly dry track conditions if the tyre is not properly warm it readically reduces grip and at lower level racing we did not have stuff like tyre warmers. Road tyres are designed to be safe at a multidue of conditions at relativly slow speeds, I wont hammer the speed limit in bad rain on normal all weather tyres, quite confident to go fast on snow with studded tyres though but only when in a race not on the M1.
 

alex66

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I enjoyed these, don't come across much of the US endurance racing here, I follow the WEC (Le Mans etc) a fair bit. I think your LMP equivalents are very different though with engine types etc.
 

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